James Johnson, Jr., Chair
900 North Ashley Drive
Tampa, Florida 33602
James Martin, Jr., Vice-Chair
William Scheuerle, Secretary
Phone: (813) 273-3660
Fax: (813) 273-3707

Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library Board



Chairman Sandra Cameron called the meeting to order at 4:00pm.


Library Board Members Present:
Sandra Cameron, Josephine Gracia
Ian Greig, William Scheuerle
Kay O'Rourke, Anniece Ross
Helen Swisshelm
Library Board Excused:
Catherine Bartolotti
Dora Reeder
Elizabeth Blue

Library Board Absent:

Fred Hearns

Library Staff Present:
Joe Stines, Director of Libraries
David Wullschleger, Chief of Operations
Linda Gillon, Manager of Staff & Administrative Support
Suzy George, Facilities Officer
Patrice Koerper, PR&P

Michele Crowe, Senior Secretary

Special Guests:
North Tampa Friends' Jane Cropsey and Mary Allen
Stephanie Brown, Director of Resident Services with the Housing Authority
Members of the Public:



Sandra Cameron asked if everyone had read the Library Notes issue that was included in their mailings. She referred to the article congratulating long-time staff members. After a brief discussion, it was motioned by Sandra that individual congratulatory letters on behalf of the Board be written to the Library recipients. Motion was seconded by Anniece Ross. Vote carried unanimously.


William Scheuerle moved that the minutes for March 23 be approved as amended. Anniece Ross seconded. Minutes were approved.


This was the first meeting after a decision by the Board requiring documentation for guest appearances in advance and advising such visitors to limit their presentations to 20 minutes. Anniece Ross stated that she was pleased to know in advance that there would be guest speakers.

Helen Swisshelm asked if Joe knew what the scheduled guest, Stephanie Brown, would be discussing. Joe stated that the understanding was she desired some type of library service offered in the Housing Authority offices located in West Tampa.

Joe Stines introduced Jane Cropsey and Mary Allen from the North Tampa Friends. About a month prior to the meeting, Joe invited them to attend. He updated them on the Board's new requirements for guest speakers.

Jane Cropsey, representing the Friends of the North Tampa Branch, presented the Board with a petition. The petition, concerning Sunday hours, additional staff, outside lighting, and parking had circulated in North Tampa. There has been great concern about parking, but Joe assured them that parking will be addressed later this summer. The lighting outside the building is considered insufficient and unsafe given the location of the library. Staff is insufficient to cover the addition of the Gates Lab computers. There is an overwhelming demand for Sunday hours.

Sandra Cameron read that there were 941 signatures on the petition.

Helen Swisshelm asked when the expansion of North Tampa is scheduled. Joe replied 2004. He stated that the design for the parking lot has been completed. The parking lot expansion and outside lighting improvement projects are funded for FY2000. Construction will probably begin in June and should be complete in September.

Regarding Sunday hours, Commissioner Jan Platt has inquired about the Library Board's Long Range Plan for adding more Sunday service. North Tampa is at the top of the recommendations for additional Sunday hours. Library management is aware that North Tampa Branch needs at least one additional staff person to meet the current demands of the branch.

In regard to future expansion, Joe suggested that the Planning Committee might wish to visit the site and consider whether relocating the library to another site nearby would be more practical. The current building's infra-structure is over 30 years old, i.e. plumbing, sewer, etc. It has been expanded once and the majority of the available land will be consumed by the parking lot. Expansion would bring a greater number of users, and the parking problem could worsen. The structure was not designed for additional expansion.

Jane Cropsey asked if there was a form for a guest appearance that they could take with them for another time. Joe explained that they should call his office and inform him that they planned to make a presentation to the Library Board. Any documents that they would like the Board to have should be sent two weeks prior to the meeting.

Helen Swisshelm expressed concern over the suggestion of "borrowing" staff from other branches to fill needs. There is a valid need for more staff and this should be the focus. Joe explained that this was placed in a budget decision unit especially for additional Sunday hours. Joe further explained that currently requesting additional staff because they have gotten busier has not received a priority response.

Helen Swisshelm asked what could be done about the outside appearance of the North Tampa Branch. Joe explained that landscaping had been enhanced, but a broken sprinkler system had resulted in the loss of most of the plants. He further stated that the library is postponing any further landscaping at North Tampa due to the water restrictions and upcoming parking lot expansion. The possibility of establishing North Tampa as a regional library, with the location a bit further east was discussed.

Stephanie Brown, Director of Resident Services, Tampa Housing Authority, requested either monies or assistance in acquiring materials for a reading center that will be at the Tampa Housing Authority offices 1800 N. Rome Ave. Her Executive Director Jerome Ryan thinks that they needed to broaden the educational assistance they offer to adults, and families with young children. The Housing Authority estimates that the current educational level of residents is approximately 7th or 8th grade level. They are opening the new center in June. They have purchased 10 PCs, software for various tests (PSATs, SATs, etc.), and teaching tools (i.e. typing). The Housing Authority wishes to obtain a collection of materials to equip the center. The center will also teach computer repair as a trade.

William Scheuerle asked which library was nearest the center. Joe replied that the West Tampa Branch was about 3 blocks west of the center. Stephanie stated her main concern was the hours that the library is open. The center will be open Monday-Friday from 8am until 8pm and Saturday 8am until noon.

William Scheuerle then asked how much room the center had for books and materials. Stephanie was unsure of the dimensions, but she assured the Board that the room was very large and had some shelving. She added that the Authority's maintenance staff was capable of installing additional shelving as needed.

Anniece Ross asked if they had Internet access. Stephanie stated that they did.

Joe Stines recommended referring the matter to the Planning Committee. He suggested that the committee be given a time limit for a response to the Board. He would also like Stephanie Brown to visit the Housing Authority to assess their computer capabilities and possible connectivity to library resources.

Josephine Gracia wanted to know the average number of persons using the center. Stephanie answered that the center is not yet in use. It will serve several communities such as the North Boulevard homes (700 units; each unit usually comprised of 3) and a senior high rise building (150). By extending the hours, the Housing Authority will be able to provide transportation.

Joe asked if the Housing Authority was trying to establish this reading center in only this one location. Stephanie said that was true at this particular time and that she is the supervisor over such projects. Joe stated that he would like to have her tour various branches and discuss ways that current library services could best be offered to Housing Authority locations. A date of May 25 was decided upon for Joe to bring information back to the Board.

William Scheuerle suggested following through on Ms. Brown's statement that the Housing Authority has limited funds for purchasing materials and possibly arrange the sale of some of the Friend's stock.

Helen Swisshelm wondered what the Library Policy was concerning purchasing materials to be sent to an outside agency. Joe said the library is not permitted to do that. All materials would have to be used/withdrawn items or through the Friends.


Joe asked the various committees to meet before May 25. He especially needs the Budget Committee to meet prior to June 14th when he attends the County's first budget hearing.

Joe will send proposed agendas to each committee prior to their meeting.


Kay O'Rourke reported that progress has begun at the Northwest site.

Joe passed around a copy of the Groundbreaking invitation. Kay asked if it was necessary to mention the amount of the donation. The invitations had been mailed; however, in the future such details will be omitted.

The Planning Committee will meet on May 11th at 2:00pm at John F. Germany Public Library in the Boardroom.


Helen Swisshelm asked if the Budget Committee could meet prior to the May Library Advisory Board meeting at 3:00pm.


Anniece Ross of the Policy & ByLaws Committee agreed to chair in Doris Reeder's absence. Thursday, May 18th was decided upon for a lunch meeting to begin at 11:30am at John F. Germany Public Library in the Boardroom.




There has been no recent meeting of the Public Art Committee. Most of the work for the Jan Platt library will be framed pieces that will be commissioned. However, Jan Stein, the County's Public Art Coordinator, has been working with David Wullschleger on the purchase of two pieces of furniture sculpture. These pieces will be purchased with money donated to the Friends.


Ian Greig asked if the letter to the Mayor discussed in the last meeting had been sent. Joe answered that it would be mailed that day and that the timing coincided with the mailing of a letter from Pat Frank, Chair of the Hillsborough County Commission, to Mayor Greco.

Sandra Cameron read the letter to the Board. Ian Greig was concerned that specific remarks made by city staff regarding the future of the library and its current location were not explicitly stated. Some editing of the letter was done. After discussion, it was decided that the letter should be revised to state "questioning the future of the John F. Germany Public Library." Helen Swisshelm pointed out that the letter needed to be sent in a timely manner.

The next scheduled meeting of the Cultural Arts District Task Force is for presentations by six companies applying for the master planning contract for the district. Helen Levine, the County's Public Affairs Director, is representing Mr. Kleman and the County on the selection committee. Joe stated that several of the companies are library-oriented. It is hoped that the presence of Library Board members and Friends of the Library at these presentations will have a positive impact.

Sandra Cameron brought in two letters from citizens (Helaine DeCelle and Marquerite Post Rich) who oppose the library's filtering of the Internet


Anniece Ross referred to the minutes where Ian Greig had suggested adding some information to the Long Range Plan. She wondered how changes to the plan are made. Joe said that the changes are presented in the form of amendments via the Planning Committee.

The executive team is meeting in the near future and one of the agenda items is the Long Range Plan. Joe hopes to bring their recommended changes to the Planning Committee.

Anniece Ross asked if the Recruitment Open House went well. Joe explained that there were about 15-20 persons who attended each session seeking information about librarian and other positions as well as general information about Hillsborough County's hiring process. The event was characterized as a "success" by staff.

William Scheuerle suggested that retirees might be one valuable source for filling part-time positions such as page and library assistant. The basic concern would be whether they would be able to handle the physical aspects of the positions.

Joe discussed the option of hiring retired librarians part-time. The major stumbling block being that if the retiree was in the Florida Retirement System they would have to sit out for an entire year prior to returning to the work force.

William Scheuerle then suggested that this obstacle could be circumvented after 3 months on OPS dollars (other personnel services). He further stated that you could not hire them on a line for a year, but you could bring them back and pay monies for which you do not pay fringe benefits. Joe equated this to hiring through a temp service.


Joe shared a letter from Congressman Jim Davis congratulating the Library System for innovative projects such as MOSI, E-libraries and the Egypt Lake partnership.

Joe Stines presented Sandra Cameron with the Friend of the Year Award from the Friends of the Library Hillsborough, Inc. Sandra was unable to attend the Annual Friends Meeting due to another commitment.

Patrice Koerper (PR&P) brought in a film clip from the Tom Joyner Show (WTMP radio). The radio show selected several sites around the southeast to assist in the Census campaign. College Hill Branch Library was chosen and over 500 people attended from 6am-10am. Several local TV stations covered the event.

Our first-ever PR campaign took place during National Library Week. Patrice distributed Adam T Riffick bags containing the book and bookmarks. The story was serialized in the Tampa Tribune in seven episodes. The weekly episodes encouraged teachers and students to access the Library's Web Page. There are also 10 billboards throughout the County with the Adam T Riffick and the Library information.

Ian Greig pointed out a flaw in the online catalog hold system which requires citizens to enter a string of information only to be informed that the item is not available to the "hold" process, for example, Temple Terrace materials. Joe said he would take the problem back to the Automated Services group to get it resolved. Anniece Ross indicated she too noticed this problem.

Josephine Gracia made a comment about the E-library at Bethune. RCMA has a center there and all the children are extremely interested in using the computers. She feels that the recreation staff does not focus on the educational activities. Joe explained that the Library and Parks and Recreation held a workshop about a week ago. Lois Kessler, Asst. Director of P&R, attended and realized that some of the recreation leaders promote the educational uses while others tend to stay with physical activities. The library will explore grant opportunities that would fund personnel to work with users of the E-library equipment.

Josephine would like to approach various groups in the community to promote the use of the E-libraries. She also may contact the local newspaper to run an article about the services offered by the E-library.

The park director at Bethune suggested using volunteers from Sun City to work with other persons, not just the children. The Parks department is understaffed. Josephine said that she has offered her services and that she can get volunteers. She brought a letter from the president of ALA recognizing the wonderful job that the library is doing in Ruskin.

Ian Greig commented on the rotating locations of the Library Board meetings. He would like to mix more with the staff and suggested that a few minutes prior to the meeting time staff and Board members could actually meet and mingle. This action could help Board members become more aware the needs and services of the library's various locations and also be a positive "thank you" to staff.




The meeting was adjourned at 6:10pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: May 25, 2000
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: Austin Davis Public Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise

Hillsborough County Comments | Contact Us | THPL.org | HCPLC.org
© Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System
Member: Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative

Site established: March 15, 1995  |  Page revised: June 30, 2014